With the Rio Olympics just hours away, sports fans across the world will soon be treated to a host of events in which the slightest incremental advantage can mean the difference between glory and ignominy. This is perhaps true for the 100m sprint more than any other event, and Jamaican sprinter Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce has teamed up with Nike to create something that might just give her the edge.
Over the course of four years, Nike has created an algorithm to work out the perfect balance between shoe stiffness, shoe weight, and the biometrics of an individual runner’s feet. The end result, a shoe created through extensive 3D-printed prototyping, has already helped Fraser-Pryce shave 0.148 seconds off her 100m personal best, and on Rio’s state-of-the-art Mondo track, could see her running even faster times in the weeks to come.
Sports science has been using the latest innovations for many years to improve athletic performance, but the true genius of Nike’s latest venture is the synergy between technology and celebrity. By marrying next-generation athletic technology with one of the world’s most marketable sports stars, Nike is ensuring that in the race to be the biggest brand at Rio, they’re the first out of the blocks.
(Banner image credit: Nike Sports Research Lab)